Members Encouraged To Request Continued Do-Not-Track Ability
With the government's plan to limit the Block Aircraft
Registration Request (BARR) program expected to take effect on
August 2, general aviation (GA) advocacy groups today anticipated
that many of their members' flights will be subject to display on
the Internet in the near term, but that a court challenge will
ultimately restore their ability to opt out from having their
aviation movements tracked online.
"While we anticipate that the court will reverse the
government's action, we also expect that the BARR program will be
curtailed," said National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)
President and CEO Ed Bolen. "We are committed to pursuing every
legal avenue available for fully restoring the BARR, and as we wait
for our day in court, we strongly encourage everyone who has used
the program to ask government officials to preserve their ability
to opt out from having their flights tracked."
The decade-old, Congressionally-enabled BARR program provides
operators of private aircraft the ability to opt out of having
their aviation movements tracked by anyone, anywhere in the world,
who has an Internet connection. Earlier this year, the DOT
announced that on August 2nd, the agency will limit the ability to
opt out of flight tracking only to those operators able to
demonstrate a "valid security concern."
NBAA and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) are
challenging the government's plan in court, and the Experimental
Aircraft Association (EAA) has filed a friend of the court brief
supporting the suit. However, a full hearing on the matter will not
occur before the government's expected action to limit the BARR
"Despite overwhelming opposition to the DOT's plan from aviation
groups, business organizations, privacy groups, members of congress
and others, we expect the agency to follow through on its
intentions, and move to curtail the BARR program on August 2nd,"
said AOPA President and CEO Craig Fuller. "That said, this story is
far from over – we anticipate that our legal challenge to the
DOT's action will be considered by the court in the coming months,
and that we will prevail in preserving the program."
Bolen agreed with Fuller, adding: "We will also continue to call
upon congress to approve a final reauthorization measure for the
Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] that includes language
preserving the BARR program approved by the House of
Representatives earlier this year."
The general aviation group leaders said that at this time,
individuals and companies that have relied on the BARR program
should assume that their flights will appear on online
flight-tracking displays, unless FAA officials have received and
processed their requests for continued inclusion in the
do-not-track list based on a valid security concern.
Going forward, aircraft owners and operators who want to opt out
of having their aviation movements tracked must send a request to
the FAA do so. The associations encouraged aviators who believe
they meet the new, security-based requirements for inclusion in the
opt-out list to apply.
Successful applicants report that a submission typically
requires four pieces of information:
- First, applicants should provide the aircraft registration
information and a stated request for inclusion in the program.
- Second, the submission should note that the request is being
made pursuant to Federal Register notice 76 FR 32258.
- Third, applicants should acknowledge that they believe they
meet the requirements for a valid security concern, or meet U.S.
Treasury regulations for a business-oriented security concern set
forth in the Federal Register notice.
- Fourth, applicants should sign their name to the document.
NBAA's website provides guidance to help applicants complete the
process. Those who submit a request to preserve their ability to
opt out of having their flights tracked should expect to receive an
acknowledgment from the FAA indicating receipt of the submission
and confirming that the request is being processed for inclusion in
the opt-out list. FAA officials indicate that the agency will
update enrollments in the program on a monthly basis.
Finally, because the associations believe the courts will
overturn the government's action, all existing BARR participants,
and those wanting to obtain do-not-track capability, should
continue to send NBAA requests to add or delete tail numbers, so
that the association can maintain an up-to-date list for use as
needed when the program is reinstated.